Vote for MacLean

SHARE   |   Friday, 12 August 2016   |   By Olebile-sikwane
Vote for MacLean

William Shakespeare once wrote Oh time though must untangle this mess. I disagree, the time is now! I consider myself a player in the local opinion market place especially in sports. These are my views. They are not sponsored or edited, so help me God. I grew up in Selibe Phikwe where SATMOS was born. I mention SATMOS because the founder of that club Sam Sono was the pioneering voice of professional football in the country. I was born in Mochudi where one of the top three clubs of Botswana comes from. I see the passion and the hope that that clubs brings to my people and the economy of that village. I studied, worked and lived in South Africa in the last 10 years. There, I saw professional football on a daily basis. The little boys I used to see in the canteen now earn millions of rands a year. I have seen how football has transformed lives. I saw Moneeb Josephs when he was 17, Thulani Serero when he was a laitie before he moved to Ajax Cape Town and Holland because there was a vision outlined for him.

The PSL today employs about 13 000 soccer players. Football contributes about 6% to the Gross Domestic Product of South Africa. I saw the impact Danny Jordan had in the development of SAFA, and how he managed to get the current Under23 side to the Olympics. It was a comprehensive plan. The proceeds of 2010 FIFA world Cup have been ploughed into the national teams. Banyana Banyana has support too, hence they are where they are today.  I have studied Iceland and how they managed to get their vision into tangibles. I have seen how Belgium built themselves into a powerhouse in world football.  Algeria and Egypt have done the same. They have redirected their energy and resources into football development. As I always say, I have followed Botswana football in the last 22 years of my life. Growing up, I watched every Super league match in Phikwe.  Shockingly, in the last 4 years, I have watched less than 5 soccer matches in Botswana because the product is poor.  The leadership does not seem to know their mandate.  They are unashamedly obsessed with the Premier League. There is no direction.

The biggest soccer clubs in the country are entangled in a mess. It’s a gigantic comedy of errors that could sell more than Shrek. There are no sponsorships, the clubs travel in broken buses. There is no league winner! National soccer teams still go on strike, there is no women’s football. The regions are poorly organized because there are no funds to manage regional football.  The sponsors have left because soccer is now seen as a dirty product. Botswana has not produced a world class player since Dipsy Selolwane, Mogogi Gabonamong and Tsotso Ngele! Why?  We have not started thinking beyond Ofentse Nato!  The best player in the country Segolame Boy can’t get an invitation for trials anywhere in Europe because the product is dirty. A few weeks ago, I traversed through Austria and Sweden. Football is big business there, it’s a big convention for scouts, families and sponsors. You can see the plight of youngsters, look at their eyes. It is a multi-million dollar industry which needs accountability, transparency, implementation of ideas, shrewd man management, an ear on the ground, integrity and above all, a VISION. 

I do not know Tebogo Sebego, I have never met him. I have never met Mantswe. I have known MacLean Letshwiti for many years.  However in the last 22 years of my life, I have never seen football in this situation. I have seen Sebego’s administration failing to transform football into a lucrative business. My interaction with MacLean Letshwiti is interesting. We first met in 2009.When we met, the premise of our discussion was soccer development. He diligently spoke of how he wished to start a development programme that would develop kids from under 9 right through to under 15 where they would be ripe and ready to go to Europe for attachment with great soccer clubs. Unfortunately, I was never in the country to see his vision through. Today, in his vision for the BFA, the element of development supersedes everything which makes me believe he is the right candidate for that office. Not just that, MacLean is a firm leader who makes decisions. He speaks of integrity in the interviews and his manifesto, an ingredient manifestly lacking in local football which relies on government and private sector for money.

Our football needs radical changes and a leader who is not seeking personal glory nor gratification. We are in desperate times. We need a visionary, a reputable problem solver- a game changer. We need integrity back into football and above all, a leader who is prepared to face challenges and deal with them instantly. For someone who has always trumpeted football development at grass roots and juxtaposed to that, the commercialization of football, I would be dishonest to the football coarse if I failed to publicly rally behind a trusted, experienced, highly connected businessman who also believes in competent and selfless people for the job. This is leader who has no interest in advancing personal goals, and whom I trust has no friendships to please in his re-engineering of local football. I pray for the best, and I do so all in the interest of the game.